How To Paint Brake Rotors And Calipers

Painted calipers and/or rotors can look quite cool. They can be a good way to personalize your car.

Painting is also a popular way to reduce the chance of rust on these parts. The right kind of paint can prevent dirt from building up on the calipers and rotors. If you’re planning on painting your calipers and/or rotors, it’s important to know how to do it the right way.

The Advantages Of Painting Your Calipers

paint caliper
Image Credit: TuningBlog

If done right, painted calipers can look quite nice. A pop of color through the wheels can look pretty appealing. So that’s a big advantage of painting your calipers. Many people believe that painted calipers are only a cosmetic upgrade. That’s actually not true. There are some functional benefits to painting your calipers:

  • Painting calipers helps to prevent rust.
  • Painted calipers shed dirt more easily, so they are easier to clean.
  • Clean calipers will cool somewhat better than dirty calipers.

Your painted calipers can be rust resistant as long as:

  • You clean off the existing grime and rust deposits during the painting process
  • You use the right kind of paint (more on this later)

The Advantages Of Painting Your Rotors

rotor paint
Image Credit: AliMECH

Painted rotors are less common than painted calipers. We want to take the opportunity to mention that painted rotors are only painted in certain areas, such as:

  • The rotor hat
  • The edge of the rotor (not where the brake pads come in contact with the rotor)
  • Anywhere else that’s not the disc surface (where the brake pads come in contact with the rotor)

It’s very important to not paint the disc surface. Doing so will interfere with the brake pads’ ability to grip the rotor and create enough heat dissipation to stop the vehicle. Keep in mind that there’s a thing called rotor coating, and that’s not the same as rotor paint. When brakes are brand new, rotor coating has been applied to the disc surface to prevent rust. For the sake of clarity, when we discuss painting rotors in this post, we mean painting the rotor hat and/or other areas for cosmetic purposes.

Like painted calipers, painted rotors can make your vehicle look nicer. The paint can also prevent corrosion in these areas.

The Importance Of Using The Right Paint

Paint selection
Image Credit: AliMECH

The rotors and calipers are among the most important parts of your vehicle’s braking system. For example, the calipers singlehandedly press the brake pads against the rotors. It’s important that you don’t jeopardize the effectiveness of your brakes by incorrectly painting these parts.

We recommend only using a paint made specifically for automotive brake system applications. If you use the wrong kind of paint, it will quickly flake or burn off. That’s not what you want happening after you’ve put in the effort to paint the parts.

As we mentioned before, it’s also very important that you clean off the existing grime and rust deposits during the painting process. You don’t want to trap any dirt under layers of paint.

When looking for paint to use on your calipers and/or rotors, get only high-temperature paint. Be sure to get paint that can withstand at least 500 degrees F. Brake calipers and rotors can get hotter than the engine. So these parts need paint that can withstand the high temperatures. If you’re using primer too, make sure the primer is also resistant to high heat. You don’t want the paint to flake off and contaminate the disc surface, brake pads, or any other component that play a big role in stopping your vehicle.

Tips On Painting Your Calipers The Right Way

Image Credit: ClubLexus

Before painting any calipers or rotors, you need to make sure they are in good condition and that you know how to properly paint them. Here are some important tips on painting your calipers the right way.

The most important thing to remember is to not paint the entire caliper. Only paint on the surfaces that don’t come in contact with the brake pads. Paint that comes in contact with any moving part will quickly be worn off.

Be sure to remove the caliper from the vehicle before painting it. Remove all the hardware (such as the caliper guide pin bolt and the caliper bracket bolts). Apply tape to mask off the piston and rubber seal. Cover the holes with tape, as well.

With brake cleaner, give the caliper and components a good wash down. You want to remove all the dirt, grime, and rust before painting it. Use a wire brush if you need. Instead of cleaning the shims and/or spring retainers, you can buy new ones. It’ll help ensure that your painted calipers will perform reliably.

When painting the calipers, apply multiple coats. Be sure to let the paint dry between coats.

Tips On Painting Your Rotors The Right Way

Image Credit: AliMECH

Before painting the rotors, remove them from the vehicle. You don’t want to paint them while they’re still on the vehicle. Clean the rotors before you paint them. If there’s any dirt, grime, or rust on the rotor hat, for example, clean it off first.

Use masking tape to tape off the rest of the rotor. When you remove the tape after the job’s done, be sure that there’s no sticky residue on the disc surface. If there is, clean it off with brake cleaner.

This bears repeating: do not paint the area where the brake pads make contact with the rotor. It will seriously affect your vehicle’s braking power.

Keep in mind that good prep work is key to a successful paint job. Don’t rush through the preparation stage.

We hope these tips will help you. Happy painting!